Blue Jays trade Grichuk and $9.7M to Rockies for Tapia

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TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays traded outfielder Randal Grichuk and just over $9.7 million to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday for outfielder Raimel Tapia and minor league infielder Adrian Pinto.

The 29-year-old Grichuk hit .241 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs in 149 games last season. He was dealt two days after hitting a grand slam in a spring training game against the Yankees.

The cash will offset a little more than half the $18.7 million Grichuk is owed over the final two seasons of his $52 million, five-year contract.

Toronto will pay Colorado $9,716,333 – $5,383,333 this year and $4,333,333 in 2023 – covering a little more than half the $18,666,666 owed to Grichuk, who has salaries of $9,333,333 in each of the next two seasons.

Tapia agreed this week to a $3.95 million, one-year contract and is eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.

The free agent signing of infielder/outfielder Kris Bryant had a big impact on Tapia, who was penciled in as the team’s left fielder before Bryant’s arrival. Tapia became the odd-outfielder-out with Sam Hilliard in center and Charlie Blackmon in right.

Known for his speed, Tapia tied for the team lead with 20 stolen bases last season. The 28-year-old from the Dominican Republic also hit .273 with six homers and 50 RBIs.

In 2020, Tapia got a boost in playing time with Ian Desmond electing to opt out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tapia finished with a career-best .321 average that season.

Tapia made his big league debut with Colorado in Sept. 2, 2016.

The Blue Jays signed Grichuk to a long-term deal in 2019 but he wasn’t assured of a starting job. Toronto has George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the outfield.

A first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2009, Grichuk got traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. He was dealt again when the Cards sent him to the Blue Jays in January 2018.

Pinto earned MVP honors in the Dominican Summer League after hitting .360 for DSL Colorado. He also stole a league-leading 41 bases.

The 19-year-old signed with the Rockies as an international free agent in July 2019.